Ramendra Narayan Kalita Ramendra Narayan Kalita

The Guwahati (West) constituency was represented by Ramendra Narayan Kalita of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in the assembly over the past five years. Voters of the suburban constituency, however, take the name of BJP’s Dewan Dhruba Jyoti Maral when it comes to talking about development of the constituency.

Rather infamous for sleeping at the assembly, Kalita was a unanimous candidate of the BJP-AGP-Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) alliance in the 2016 elections and defeated Juri Sarma Bordoloi of the Congress by over 42,200 votes.

Barring a few from the hills areas who have reaped the slog-over benefits of Kalita’s innings, InsideNE have come across many who look for “parivartan (change)” of candidate for the constituency that Kalita has represented four times since 1985.

“We look for a change of candidate. When this locality faced a perennial potable water crisis for long decades and there was an MLA, it is unfortunate that a BJP leader had to take the initiative to get whatever little piped water supply to households that we can see these days, thanks to former water resources minister Bijoya Chakraborty.

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“This locality was one among those few in the city where it was all darkness after dusk till the same BJP took the help of Guwahati MP Queen Oja to get solar powered lights installed to illuminate the streets nights making them safer for the residents,” said Kanak Das of Santipur.

“Under the circumstances, the BJP leader Dewan Dhruba Jyoti Maral deserves the ticket to represent us so that he can serve the people better,” he added.

“We have seen very little development of the constituency compared to adjoining localities over the past five years. We feel parivartan (change) of candidate can help us see better days in the future,” said Nurul Haque, a roadside chicken vendor.

The elderly and the little concerned ones also feel it was the BJP that made some progress visible in the state should be re-elected to give another chance to serve the people better.

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“I’ll vote for the BJP irrespective of whoever the candidate may be. It is the BJP that ushered in progress to the state and our locality as well,” said 70-year-old Manju Das, apparently unaware of the party Kalita represents.

Kalita, however, is a star performer among the hills dwellers of his constituency. Roads, electrification of households, land allotment et al are what they looked for decades and Kalita fulfilled these for them, thanks to central government schemes as well as the latest benefits being doled out by the ruling BJP to lakhs of beneficiaries of the state with an eye on the assembly elections ahead.

“This is a road that never saw black topping for decades together owing to administrative issues between Assam and Meghalaya. But, it is Kalita who made all efforts, including taking personal initiatives to meet Meghalaya government officials to sort out matters, to ensure that the road is built. He took all the pain so that villagers of several hamlets on both sides of the road benefit,” said Jiban Rabha standing on a newly built road at Muduki in Rani Reserve Forest on the city outskirts.

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The people of Garbhanga Reserve Forest would also vouch for Kalita for his initiatives to start a school, rebuild the main road, commission new water supply projects etc. Kalita, who was critical of the ruling coalition’s decisions and programmes at times, was contacted by InsideNE for his comment. Apparently confident that his work would speak directly to the voters, he said he was constrained for time to speak to the media.